The gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA in Delta state, Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, has expressed dismay about electioneering in Nigeria, saying the process is deteriorating on yearly basis.
Ogboru, in an exclusive interview with Saturday Vanguard, stated that one of his children had once told him not to contest election until he has N10 billion.
Recall that the APGA was the face of the opposition in the state before the 2023 elections.
In 2007, 2010 rerun and 2011 elections, when he ran under the Democratic Peoples Party, DPP, he put up a strong fight against the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. In those elections, he produced some members of the State House of Assembly.
Speaking on the 2023 governorship election, Ogboru said, “After the conclusion of the election, we had to congratulate the winner of that election, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori.
“Having said that, I want to say that the process of electioneering in Nigeria is deteriorating on yearly basis and this should not be so.
“From what we have witnessed, it will be safe to conclude that no person again can win an election without a very deep pocket. As a matter of fact, after those elections, one of my children sent a text to me and said, ‘daddy we will not contest election again unless we have N10 billion’.
“If I have to extrapolate, I want to say the youths of today have caged themselves; we find it a bit worrisome and unthinkable that people can willingly sell their birth rights by selling their votes.
“By so doing, they consign themselves into modern slaves and they have no voice to therefore to question the doings of government; this is pathetic, sad and unacceptable, the future has to guide against it.”
On insinuations that Ogboru was given money and bought over by the PDP before the elections, “ he said, “I have heard some of those silly talks from some quarters and we know those are sponsored discourse from our friends in the APC who specialize only in maligning and destroying peoples’ character because they believe that the only way to rise in politics is to bring somebody down.
“That is the trademark of the APC in Delta state. If you know my antecedents, you should know by now that there are certain people who are above bribery, who are above inducement, who are above money and I am very confident and I say it proudly that I am one of the few people that money cannot induce under any circumstance.
“If anybody was making that insinuation, they are wrong. What happened was prior to the elections the PDP approached us that I should step down for their candidate and endorse him and I said no, it should be the reverse, your candidate should step down and endorse me and this went on for a few weeks.
“Then after a few weeks, they said we should have a meeting with the governor of our state. We met and we tried to convince the governor that the candidate of his party should step down for us and they said no and I said I will not step down for him either; we have to go into the race.
“Nevertheless, in that meeting we agreed that one of us should win that election and that if Sheriff won, Great Ogboru won and if Great Ogboru won, Sheriff won.
“So, to that extent, it was proper for me to congratulate him and be part of the celebration, but in any case it was not pre planned that it should be so. There is therefore no apology whatsoever to anybody. We did what we thought was right, we congratulated the winner because we did not win that election” he said.
Speaking on having deep pocket to win in an election in Nigeria, Ogboru said, “It is not contradictory whatsoever. You see, the issues of apathy, violence, voters inducement and intimidation are not issues to be adjudicated upon in the court; these are realities and if you are not able to change it because the law did not permit you to do so, you must accept the outcome.
“There are no contradictions whatsoever; yes, the elections were marred with all of those shortcomings which I mentioned earlier on, but it did not take away the fact that somebody won the election as it were. We accept that result and and we are standing by it,” he added.